Houstonian Corner (V13-I51)

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Inaugural Grand Ball of International Trade Center

With the splendid light blue and white backdrops, Westin Galleria Hotel Grand Ballroom showed a picturesque setting for the around 700 guests that were in attendance at the Inaugural Grand Ball of International Trade Center (ITC). Program included exciting entertainments from across the globe; motivating interactive auction professionally done by Former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt; Silent Auction on the beautiful artifacts & jewelry from across the world; sumptuous dinner from the Chefs of Westin Galleria, and much more. Our media outlets congratulate the whole team of ITC on this most wonderful program.

Chris Wilmont, Chairman Greater Houston Partnership World Bank Task Force & Honorary Grand Ball Chair; Honorable Gordon & Sylvia Quan, Grand Ball Co-Chairs; Wae Lee, ITC Founder; Gezahgen Kebede, President of ITC; Yuki Rogers, Executive Director; and Munira Panjwani-Zahid  & Munir Ibrahim, Co-Chairs of the Grand Ball Steering Committee; welcomed all the guests.
Keynote speaker on the occasion was James Edmonds, Chairman of Port of Houston Authority (POHA), who informed all the guests about the services POHA is providing for international trade; more potentials for trade with the projected widening of Panama Canal; and incredible opportunities for local small businesses to get contracts of the various projects happening at POHA all the time.
Guest of Honor Congressman AL Green gave special congressional proclamation to ITC and said he felt really proud to have recently visited Shanghai China to start the “Made in USA Center” over there, which has been inaugurated by Wae Lee of ITC: “I will like to visit China again with ITC,” added Honorable AL Green.

Robert Sakowitz Hazak received a beautiful memento for the Life-Time Achievement Award of ITC for his success in the world of fashion & business.

Other esteemed globally recognized award recipients were AT&T (International Corporation of the Year); Mr. Moez Mangalji of Westmont Hospitality Group (International Businessman of the Year); Late Dr. Michael Elias DeBakey of Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center (International Legacy of the Year); UNICEF (International Humanitarian Organization of the Year); Houston Community College System (International Academia Award); Ms. Sandra Bloem-Curtis of Rice University (International Educator of the Year); and three persons got the International Students of Excellence namely Mr. Yuqian “Kevin” Wu (University of Houston), Mr. Sumedh Warudkar (Rice University), and Ms. Sung Un Lee (Houston Community College).

For more information about the services & programs, and recurring updates of ITC, please regularly visit http://www.itchouston.org/

HPD Officers’ & Volunteers Donate Food

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, Houston police officers, including Officer Muzaffar Siddiqui, and dozens of community volunteers finished packing food supplies, that will be distributed to those less fortunate in Houston. This annual effort was held at the Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. Plant at 9300 La Porte Freeway.

Thanks to the generosity of the Houston community, food and monetary donations were collected by HPD officers stationed at Fiesta Mart locations throughout Houston during HPD’s 26th Annual “Comida” (“Food” in Spanish) Drive.

The Comida Drive began 26 years ago, in December 1985, with an officer’s concern for the less fortunate citizens of Houston. That began what is now one of the largest food drives in the city of Houston. During its first year, approximately 600 families received a box of non-perishable food. Each donated box feeds a family of four. The food drive now provides food for more than 3,500 pre-registered families throughout the City of Houston.

For more information, please call 713-308-3280.

Islamic Awareness Week at Wayne State University.

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Press Release, Wayne MSA

Wayne is planning annual Islamic Awareness Week for November -

Below is the program for the week:

All the events are free and open to the entire campus.

Theme: Revolution of Reason

Monday, Nov. 14th – “Ask a Muslim” – Easel Boards  (people ask q’s about Islam)
—–Location: Undergraduate Library
—–Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Tuesday, Nov. 15th – Islam Fair    (with Discover Islam posters, hijab demonstrations, etc)
—–Location: Undergraduate Library
—–Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Wednesday, Nov. 16th – Keynote Address with Imam Abdul Malik
—–Topic: Reformation of the Heart
—–Location: Bernath Auditorium
—–Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm

Thursday, Nov. 17th – Fast-A-Thon: A Taste of Islam with Saqib Shafi
—–Location: Grand Ballroom 2nd Floor Student Center
—–Time: 4:45pm-7:30pm

Friday, Nov. 18th – Campus “Jumu’ah” (Friday Prayer) – Islam: Liberating Hearts & Minds
—–Location: Grand Ballroom 2nd Floor Student Center
—–Time: 2:30pm-3:00pm

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Saudi Hails Hajj Success

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

s_h01_03036278

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba, seen at center, inside the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on November 3, 2011.

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

MECCA, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz hailed the “success” of this year’s hajj despite fears of “chaos” in the wake of the Arab Spring, as remaining pilgrims continued final rites on Wednesday.

“We thank God for the success of this year’s hajj, which was the best pilgrimage season to ever pass,” Nayef told the commanders of hajj security forces late on Tuesday.

“Some (pilgrims) were expected to exploit the international and regional changes taking place to cause chaos. But thank God this did not happen,” SPA quoted Nayef, who also holds the interior portfolio, as saying.

The hajj — the world’s largest annual gathering — this year coincided with the Arab Spring democracy protests that have swept many nations in the region and led so far to the unseating of three autocratic leaders, in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, as protests continue in Yemen and Syria.

“What’s going on in Syria is painful,” Syrian pilgrim Abu Imad told AFP. “I’m coming here for perform pilgrimage and to pray for myself and my children.”

According to the United Nations, more than 3,500 people have been killed, most of them civilians, in Syria’s uprising that began in March.

Saudi Arabia itself had been slightly touched by the unrest as Shiites held sporadic protests in its Eastern Province a few times over the past months.

But their movement was quickly contained by authorities in the conservative Sunni kingdom.

“We thank all the pilgrims for proving that they are Muslims who respect this (hajj) rite and for being cooperative,” the prince said.

Indonesian pilgrim Hamid Eddine also believes that “pilgrims must follow instructions to gain the rewards of hajj and to smoothly perform their pilgrimage.”

Saudi security forces have several times in the past confronted Iranian pilgrims holding anti-US and anti-Israeli protests.

In 1987, Saudi police efforts to stifle such a demonstration sparked clashes in which 402 people died, including 275 Iranians.

But no incidents were reported this year as Iranian pilgrims, put at around 97,000 — the maximum allowed for Iran under a Saudi system apportioning pilgrim quotas among the world’s biggest Muslim countries — held their protests inside their own camps on Saturday.

Already strained ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia became taut last month when the United States accused Iranian officials of having a hand in a thwarted plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Iran has strongly denied involvement and emphasized “good relations” with its Arab neighbor across the Gulf.

Most of this year’s three million Muslim pilgrims had left the holy city of Mecca after after a farewell circumambulation of the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure in the Grand Mosque into which is set the Black Stone, Islam’s most sacred relic.

Others completed stoning of the devil on Wednesday — a ritual, which is carried out over three days in which pilgrims must stone the three pillars said to symbolize the devil.

In previous years, hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes triggered by crowds trying to get close to the pillars to take their vengeance on the devil.

But this year, the stoning, like all other rituals, passed with no major incidents.

The ritual is an emulation of Ibrahim’s stoning of the devil at the three spots where he is said to have appeared trying to dissuade the biblical patriarch from obeying God’s order to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.

Saudi authorities have installed a multi-level walkway through the stone-throwing site in a bid to avoid the trampling that caused the deaths of 364 people in 2006, 251 in 2004 and 1,426 in 1990.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those who are able to.

AFP

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Michael Moore: How I Became Anti-War

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Michael Moore, Grand Central Publishing | Book Excerpt

 

http://truth-out.org/michael-moore-tet/1317744610

Saudis Turn Mecca into Vegas

September 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Historic and culturally important landmarks are being destroyed to make way for luxury hotels and malls, reports Jerome Taylor

SAUDI ARABIA/

A general view is seen of the Grand Mosque during the Muslim month of Ramadan in the holy city of Mecca August 20, 2011.  Saudi Arabia has begun the biggest expansion yet of the Grand Mosque, to raise its capacity to 2 million pilgrims, the state news agency SPA said. 

REUTERS/Hassan Ali

Behind closed doors–in places where the religious police cannot listen in–residents of Mecca are beginning to refer to their city as Las Vegas, and the moniker is not a compliment.

Over the past 10 years the holiest site in Islam has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world.

Once a dusty desert town struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj, the city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.

To the al-Saud monarchy, Mecca is their vision of the future–a steel and concrete metropolis built on the proceeds of enormous oil wealth that showcases their national pride.

Yet growing numbers of citizens, particularly those living in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, have looked on aghast as the nation’s archaeological heritage is trampled under a construction mania backed by hardline clerics who preach against the preservation of their own heritage. Mecca, once a place where the Prophet Muhammad (s) insisted all Muslims would be equal, has become a playground for the rich, critics say, where naked capitalism has usurped spirituality as the city’s raison d’être.

Few are willing to discuss their fears openly because of the risks associated with criticising official policy in the authoritarian kingdom. And, with the exceptions of Turkey and Iran, fellow Muslim nations have largely held their tongues for fear of of a diplomatic fallout and restrictions on their citizens’ pilgrimage visas. Western archaeologists are silent out of fear that the few sites they are allowed access to will be closed to them.

But a number of prominent Saudi archaeologists and historians are speaking up in the belief that the opportunity to save Saudi Arabia’s remaining historical sites is closing fast.

“No one has the balls to stand up and condemn this cultural vandalism,” says Dr Irfan al-Alawi who, as executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, has fought in vain to protect his country’s historical sites. “We have already lost 400-500 sites. I just hope it’s not too late to turn things around.”

Sami Angawi, a renowned Saudi expert on the region’s Islamic architecture, is equally concerned. “This is an absolute contradiction to the nature of Mecca and the sacredness of the house of God,” he told the Reuters news agency earlier this year. “Both [Mecca and Medina] are historically almost finished. You do not find anything except skyscrapers.”

Dr Alawi’s most pressing concern is the planned £690m expansion of the Grand Mosque, the most sacred site in Islam which contains the Kaaba–the black stone cube built by Ibrahim (Abraham) that Muslims face when they pray.

Construction officially began earlier this month with the country’s Justice Minister, Mohammed al-Eissa, exclaiming that the project would respect “the sacredness and glory of the location, which calls for the highest care and attention of the servants or Islam and Muslims”.

The 400,000 square metre development is being built to accommodate an extra 1.2 million pilgrims each year and will turn the Grand Mosque into the largest religious structure in the world. But the Islamic Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of key historical sites that they believe are now at risk from the ongoing development of Mecca, including the old Ottoman and Abbasi sections of the Grand Mosque, the house where the Prophet Muhammad (s) was born and the house where his paternal uncle Hamza grew up.

There is little argument that Mecca and Medina desperately need infrastructure development. Twelve million pilgrims visit the cities every year with the numbers expected to increase to 17 million by 2025.

But critics fear that the desire to expand the pilgrimage sites has allowed the authorities to ride roughshod over the area’s cultural heritage. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone.

The destruction has been aided by Wahabism, the austere interpretation of Islam that has served as the kingdom’s official religion ever since the al-Sauds rose to power across the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century.

In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage “shirk”—the sin of idolatry or polytheism–and should be destroyed. When the al-Saud tribes swept through Mecca in the 1920s, the first thing they did was lay waste to cemeteries holding many of Islam’s important figures. They have been destroying the country’s heritage ever since.

Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.

Those circling the Kaaba only need to look skywards to see the latest example of the Saudi monarchy’s insatiable appetite for architectural bling. At 1,972ft, the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, opened earlier this year, soars over the surrounding Grand Mosque, part of an enormous development of skyscrapers that will house five-star hotels for the minority of pilgrims rich enough to afford them.

To build the skyscraper city, the authorities dynamited an entire mountain and the Ottoman era Ajyad Fortress that lay on top of it. At the other end of the Grand Mosque complex, the house of the Prophet’s (s) first wife Khadijah has been turned into a toilet block. The fate of the house he was born in is uncertain. Also planned for demolition are the Grand Mosque’s Ottoman columns which dare to contain the names of the Prophet’s (s) companions, something hardline Wahabis detest.

For ordinary Meccans living in the mainly Ottoman-era town houses that make up much of what remains of the old city, development often means the loss of their family home.

Non-Muslims cannot visit Mecca and Medina, but The Independent was able to interview a number of citizens who expressed discontent over the way their town was changing. One young woman whose father recently had his house bulldozed described how her family was still waiting for compensation. “There was very little warning; they just came and told him that the house had to be bulldozed,” she said.

Another Meccan added: “If a prince of a member of the royal family wants to extend his palace he just does it. No one talks about it in public though. There’s such a climate of fear.”

Dr Alawi hopes the international community will finally begin to wake up to what is happening in the cradle of Islam. “We would never allow someone to destroy the Pyramids, so why are we letting Islam’s history disappear?”

Prophet’s (s) Wife’s House

The house of the Prophet’s (s) wife Khadijah was destroyed and replaced with a public toilet block. After lengthy negotiations the site was briefly excavated with artefacts found dating back to the Prophet’s  (s) time.

Expansion of the Grand Mosque

In order to accommodate the ever growing pilgrim numbers, the authorities have begun a £690m expansion. Houses have been pulled, and it is likely the old Ottoman and Abbasi columns will also go.

The Prophet’s (s) Birth House

The building where the Prophet (s) once lived lies just a few hundred yards  from the Grand Mosque. Currently a library, the fear is that it could suffer the same fate as his wife’s house when the mosque expands.

Royal Mecca Clocktower

In order to build the clock tower and its surrounding skyscrapers–most of which house luxury hotels–the Saudi authorities approved the destruction of an entire mountain and the Ottoman Ajyad Fortress that lay on top.

Also under threat

Bayt al-Mawlid

When the Wahabis took Mecca in the 1920s they destroyed the dome on top of the house where the Prophet Muhammad (s) was born. It was then used as a cattle market before being turned into a library after a campaign by Meccans. There are concerns that the expansion of the Grand Mosque will destroy it once more. The site has never been excavated by archaeologists.

Ottoman and Abasi columns of the Grand Mosque

Slated for demolition as part of the Grand Mosque expansion, these intricately carved columns date back to the 17th century and are the oldest surviving sections of Islam’s holiest site. Much to the chagrin of Wahabis, they are inscribed with the names of the Prophet’s (s) companions. Ottomon Mecca is now rapidly disappearing.

Al-Masjid al-Nawabi

For many years, hardline Wahabi clerics have had their sites set on the 15th century green dome that rests above the tomb holding the Prophet (s), Abu Bakr and Umar in Medina. The mosque is regarded as the second holiest site in Islam. Wahabis, however, believe marked graves are idolatrous. A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, endorsed by Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, stated that “the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet’s  (s) Masjid.”

Jabal al-Nour

A mountain outside Mecca where Muhammad (s) received his first Koranic revelations. The Prophet (s) used to spend long spells in a cave called Hira. The cave is particularly popular among South Asian pilgrims who have carved steps up to its entrance and adorned the walls with graffiti. Religious hardliners are keen to dissuade pilgrims from congregating there and have mooted the idea of removing the steps and even destroying the mountain altogether.

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Muslim Women With Another Dismal Grand Slam

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

2011-08-30T220145Z_592763968_LM2E78U1P6X01_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-OPENIn what has become a disappointing pattern, the Muslimas of the professional tennis world have once again experienced miserable results at a Grand Slam tennis tournament. This time around it is the U.S. Open, which began this week. India’s Sania Mirza seemed to carry the highest hopes of the bunch, with her WTA singles ranking on the uptick, most recently reaching number 63in the world. But she did not receive the smoothest of draws, facing the number 23 seed Shahar Peer of Israel in the first round. Mirza started off well, taking the first set 7-6 (7-5) from her former doubles partner. But that was it, as Peer stormed back to take the next two sets, and the match, 6-3, 6-1. This concluded what has been a downer of a month for Sania, as she lost in the first round of her last event, the Texas Open. And, she has also spent the last few weeks refuting claims by the Pakistan Tennis Federation that she demanded a $25,000 appearance fee earlier this year for a charity exhibition match for the Lahore flood victims.

Aravane Rezai, of France, had most recently had a run of good play. She made the finals of the Texas Open the previous week before losing to Sabine Lisicki. But because of Hurricane Irene, Rezai had to fly to Cleveland, Ohio and then drive to New York for the U.S. Open. And perhaps all those hours on the road took a toll on Aravane, as she went down meekly to number 26 seed Flavia Pennetta in the first round 6-4, 6-1.

The only spot of good fortune at this year’s U.S. Open amongst Muslim women came via Uzbekistan’s Akgul Amanmuradova, who dispatched of Tamira Paszek in the first round 6-4, 6-2. And things opened positively on the men’s side, as Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian doubles partner Rohan Bopanna, opened their tournament with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 over Americans Robbie Ginepri and Rhyne Williams. Qureshi and Bopanna finished as runner-ups in last year’s U.S. Open, and they are the fifth-seeded team in this year’s tourney.

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Sania Mirza Loses in French Final

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

french-open-preview-L-BewaPyIndia’s Sania Mirza was within a whisker of winning her second Grand Slam title, but at the end of the day, it was “So close, yet so far away,” for Mirza and her Russian doubles partner Elena Vesnina at the French Open. Mirza and Vesnina, the seventh seeds in the ladies’ doubles division, lost in the finals to the unseeded Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The final score was 6-4, 6-3.

Sania previously won the mixed doubles at another Grand Slam event, the 2009 Australian Open, which she won with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi. Mirza did become the first Indian female tennis player to reach a women’s doubles final. But it ended up being an off day for Mirza and Vesnina, as they were unable to overcome their unforced errors, especially in the face of inclement weather.
Mirza and Vesnina split the 165,000 euro second prize, while the victors took home a total of 330,000 euro. After the match Vesnina was thankful to her partner announcing, “Thanks Sania for the great experience we’ve had here. Hope we’ll have more of such games in the future.”

After the tournament, Mirza reached a career high doubles ranking of 14. And as a team, Mirza and Vesnina moved into the number three position in the WTA Championship rankings, putting them in contention for the year-end WTA championship event in Istanbul, Turkey. The event is only for the top four teams in the WTA rankings.

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Iran: Rafsanjani Poised to Outflank Supreme Leader Khamenei

June 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Eurasianet

khatami-rafsanjani

Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani shown here voting with reform leader former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

(Photo: Amir Kholoosi / ISNA)

Looking past their fiery rhetoric and apparent determination to cling to power using all available means, Iran’s hardliners are not a confident bunch. While hardliners still believe they possess enough force to stifle popular protests, they are worried that they are losing a behind-the-scenes battle within Iran’s religious establishment.

A source familiar with the thinking of decision-makers in state agencies that have strong ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there is a sense among hardliners that a shoe is about to drop. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – Iran’s savviest political operator and an arch-enemy of Ayatollah Khamenei’s – has kept out of the public spotlight since the rigged June 12 presidential election triggered the political crisis. The widespread belief is that Rafsanjani has been in the holy city of Qom, working to assemble a religious and political coalition to topple the supreme leader and Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“There is great apprehension among people in the supreme leader’s [camp] about what Rafsanjani may pull,” said a source in Tehran who is familiar with hardliner thinking. “They [the supreme leader and his supporters] are much more concerned about Rafsanjani than the mass movement on the streets.”

Ayatollah Khamenei now has a very big image problem among influential Shi’a clergymen. Over the course of the political crisis, stretching back to the days leading up to the election, Rafsanjani has succeeded in knocking the supreme leader off his pedestal by revealing Ayatollah Khamenei to be a political partisan rather than an above-the-fray spiritual leader. In other words, the supreme leader has become a divider, not a uniter.

Now that Ayatollah Khamenei has become inexorably connected to Ahmadinejad’s power grab, many clerics are coming around to the idea that the current system needs to be changed. Among those who are now believed to be arrayed against Ayatollah Khamenei is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shi’a cleric in neighboring Iraq. Rafsanjani is known to have met with Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani’s representative in Iran, Javad Shahrestani.

A reformist website, Rooyeh, reported that Rafsanjani already had the support of nearly a majority of the Assembly of Experts, a body that constitutionally has the power to remove Ayatollah Khamenei. The report also indicated that Rafsanjani’s lobbying efforts were continuing to bring more clerics over to his side. Rafsanjani’s aim, the website added, is the establishment of a leadership council, comprising of three or more top religious leaders, to replace the institution of supreme leader. Shortly after it posted the report on Rafsanjani’s efforts to establish a new collective leadership, government officials pulled the plug on Rooyeh.

Meanwhile, the Al-Arabiya satellite television news channel reported that a “high-ranking” source in Qom confirmed that Rafsanjani has garnered enough support to remove Ayatollah Khamenei, but an announcement is being delayed amid differences on what or who should replace the supreme leader. Some top clerics reportedly want to maintain the post of supreme leader, albeit with someone other than Ayatollah Khamenei occupying the post, while others support the collective leadership approach.

To a certain degree, hardliners now find themselves caught in a cycle of doom: they must crack down on protesters if they are to have any chance of retaining power, but doing so only causes more and more clerics to align against them.

Security forces broke up a small street protest on June 22 involving roughly a thousand demonstrators who had gathered to mourn the victims of the government crackdown two days before. Also on June 22, a statement issued in the name of the Revolutionary Guards demanded that protesters immediately stop “sabotage and rioting activities,” and threatened to unleash “revolutionary confrontation” against anyone who took to the streets.

Such a showdown could come later this week. One of the country’s highest-ranking clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri has declared three days of mourning for those who have died in street protests. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s declaration could bring thousands of Tehran residents back out into the streets starting on June 24.

Meanwhile, the Guardian Council, an unelected state body with election oversight responsibilities, announced June 21 that it had found numerous irregularities connected with the June 12 presidential vote. A council spokesman, for example, admitted that the number of votes cast in 50 cities throughout the country exceeded the number of registered voters in those locations. The Guardian Council indicated that there may be as many as 3 million suspect ballots, but stressed the suspected cases of fraud were not such that it could have influenced the outcome of the vote. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly characterized the election as a “divine assessment” of Ahmadinejad’s popularity.

An election analysis released by the London-based Chatham House appeared to confirm that the official results, in which Ahmadinejad was said to have won with nearly two-thirds of the vote, could only have been achieved with massive vote-rigging. The report was based on voting patterns from previous national elections, and on a 2006 census.

“In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all centrist voters and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups,” said the report, which was prepared with the help of the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St. Andrews. The report also used statistical arguments to dispute the notion that Ahmadinejad was popular in rural areas of Iran. “That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth,” the report said.

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